Tony Hawk may just be the G.O.A.T. of skateboarding. Now, the living legend is turning his attention to a new project, partnering with Complex to create The RIDE Channel, a media outlet for skaters and skate fans worldwide. Hawk recently got on the phone to chat with NYLON Guys about the project.
Tell me about The RIDE Channel
Basically its our video outlet. We actually had a site before our YouTube channel called Shred or Die, but then we partnered with YouTube, and now we’re expanding that into a full media brand. I like to think of it as today’s skate magazine, there’s so much different content and different ways to communicate. I think everything we’ve done in the past has been leading up to this.
How do you see your fan base engaging with this content through your YouTube channel, through your social media?
It’s been really interesting, and it happened much faster than I anticipated with TheRideChannel and the Complex partnership even just in this first week. So the YouTube channel itself worked really well for the first two years, but I feel like now we need to expand to the Complex readership too.
What is your experience interacting with your community through the internet?
It’s been really interesting because whatever we put out, right away with sharing, comments, likes, views, we know right away if they like it and I appreciate that. I’d rather be aware than ignoring or in denial of the fact that some stuff is not that good.
How does that affect the content you create?
I definitely take direction from what comments we’re getting and views we’re getting and definitely have made shows based on that feedback and some of them go by the waist-side because of that. There have been some shows that we were really proud of with really high production values, but the interest wasn’t there and so we had to let go of those.
What types of videos do you see fans engaging with the most?
Obviously big moves—crashes are always a big hit; we’re not ignoring that fact. But also more of the philosophy in terms of the superstars of skating and the chief figures, the legends to get into that philosophy of how they approach what they do is also a big hit. That and instructional videos, too. They’re sort of the staple of our site and always have been.
What kinds of talent can we look forward to seeing on the site?
More coverage than just video, more in-depth stories, interesting histories of different skater groups, places and people. Also curating content from other sites as well, because it’s too big to not acknowledge in the skate industry.
If there was one takeaway you wanted your audience to get from your site, one tagline what would it be?
I’d say a hub for skate culture and interesting for non-skaters as well.
What do you think would be the main takeaway for non-skaters?
Probably the stories, the ridiculous scenarios that people get into, skate tours and stuff that’s generally off the beaten path. I feel like people would be interested in those stories cause of the fact that the way we’re trying to make a living is pretty absurd.
Is there anything left on your skate bucket list?
I would like to see more growth of it, and however I can facilitate that, I will. I’d love to see skate grow more in Asia and other global territories.
Is RIDE going to be focusing its coverage on the US or on international news?
We’re looking at everything we can. Obviously the biggest thing is the U.S., but we’re trying to cover all sides, and we have strong relationships with skater fans in Kabul, also Cambodia and South Africa.